Posted by: stackedfivehigh | January 22, 2010

Moving day

Today was back to my ongoing archive project.  I had been given a box of files from an old project manager, and I got to begin at the beginning, learning about institutional archives.  So I did the survey, which took a few days (which translates to weeks when you’re only going in one day per week, and alternating weeks between archives and photo archives).

Surveying involved going through every file, trying not to get sucked in by the interesting little details – like the file full of resumes from the early ’80s, for the project manager’s assistant position.  I’ll have to admit I spent awhile on that, for no good reason except that it was interesting.  In general, I was noting the sequence the files were already in, writing down the name of the file, and trying to concisely summarize the contents. Or not so concisely, since it’s me.

In historical archives, I wouldn’t have gone on to a reorganizing step, but for this, we did.  So after I got a sense of what was in each of the files, I had to try to determine a logical sequence for them.  After some discussion with the archivist, we’re separating them into ‘Trips’ and ‘Programs’, because almost everything fits into either organizing group trips, or organizing programs at the museum, and then alphabetizing.   Which leads us to this week.  Re-housing, or moving day.

Today involved taking archival quality folders, properly heading them (survery info on left, folder title in the middle, any available date information to the right).  Then the staples and paper clips.  Staples rust.  And so do old paper clips.  And you know how when you use the little claw staple-remover, it almost always rips the paper?  Yeah, we don’t use those.  I got to use a ‘spatula’ type.  Which meant I mostly used my fingernails.

So, remove metal paper clips and staples and replace with very brightly colored vinyl-covered paper clips, and then put in the new folder.  Do you think anyone will ever notice my fun color-coordination?  Maybe posterity will one day look back and reflect on the rainbow pattern I managed in one of the files.  I hope so.  That’s really all I did, though.  And I’m only halfway through the box.  Another superb day for the mp3 player. Oh, and this is also called ‘preservation’ which I think sounds much cooler than ‘removing staples’ so I think I’ll go with that.

My only real complaint is that I hate writing stuff by hand.  I have atrocious handwriting and so I have to be really conscious of what I’m doing or it’s sloppy.  I’m so used to just typing, the pencil thing feels weird.

So that was my Friday at the museum.


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